Press Release
February 1, 2016

Villar to DFA: Where is P23 million blood money for Joselito Zapanta?

Sen. Cynthia Villar today said she will file a resolution seeking an inquiry into the status of the reported P23-million blood money which was raised to save the life of overseas Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta.

"As one of those who contributed to the blood money for Joselito, along with countless OFWs and sympathizers, I want to know where is the money now and how will it be used," Villar said.

Villar made this statement during her meeting with Jesus and Mona Zapanta, parents of Joselito, the OFW who was executed in Saudi Arabia for robbery and murder last December 29, 2015. The couple received a sari-sari store starter package as livelihood assistance from Villar.

"It is also important to come up with a policy to direct the utilization of money intended for blood money but was not used," Villar pointed out.

Villar said a portion of the money should go to the two children of Zapanta, Maria Izil and Jomar, to fund their education. Villar also proposed to use part of the amount as seed money for a special fund where blood money could be sourced to help OFWs in death row.

"In the next deliberation of the General Appropriations Act, maybe we can study the need to put up a fund to assist OFWs languishing in jail aside from the P100 million Legal Assistance Fund and the P450 million Repatriation Fund," Villar said.

Only P23 million was reported to have been raised from the P48 million blood money set by the Riyadh court for the family of the slain Sudanese national.

Toots Ople of the Ople Center, said the Senate inquiry should include the five other cases of OFWs who are raising funds for blood money in exchange of the death sentence.

Aside from the parents of Zapanta, three other repatriated OFWs received assistance from Villar.

Susan Asis, 44 of Taguig, was repatriated after suffering physical abuse from her employer in Saudi Arabia. She was denied food and was locked up in her quarters. Asis is married to a tricycle driver with six children.

Frelyn Aboy, 32 years old, from Negros Oriental also received livelihood assistance from Villar. The single parent of a sickly 3-year-old daughter was deployed on Sept. 20, 2015 to Saudi Arabia. She was regularly beaten, was denied her salary, accused of theft and was also raped. She was stranded at the Social Welfare facility in Jawazat and reported to have attempted to commit suicide because of hopelessness.

Aside from the sari-sari store package, Aboy was also referred to Las Pinas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center for proper medical intervention.

Rhodel Jayson Barrera, Jr., 43 years old from Dipolog City also received assistance from Villar. He worked as an encoder/clerk in Al Khobar, KSA but went home last May 2015 because of diabetes. He was awarded with three months' supply of Gliclazide Oral Hypoglycemic and financial assistance.

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